Construction Monitoring: Advantages, Limitation and Beyond

Introduction: 

Construction site monitoring is a difficult and complex task due to the constantly changing nature of the job site. No one can keep an eye on everything 24/7. Project participants such as owners. engineers, contractors, and subcontractors rely majorly on modern technologies to stay updated on the construction site.

Research has shown that the data gathered from still video cameras on construction sites does not give proper information about everything making it less reliable.

In this article, the significant impact of automated camera technology will be highlighted in different ways making project management tasks more effective and efficient.

Application Areas of Automated High-Resolution Cameras: 

Automated high-resolution cameras have taken over the world. Almost every field requires them for real-time monitoring. A study shows that data collected at random intervals and in an ad hoc manner is not as useful for project management as regular data collection.

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Cameras are useful in monitoring the progress of construction activities from start to end. Users of the camera can log in to a web-based user interface to determine if work is completed or require rework. It also allows early detection of any problem.

The ability to track the progress of activities enables users to anticipate impending roadblocks and better plan the subsequent work tasks.

Inspection time can be greatly reduced because of digital images. Moreover, real- time monitoring of weather can aid project managers in planning and scheduling.

Communication and Documentation: 

Delays resulting from ineffective communication or documentation are one of the most significant obstacles in managing construction projects.

Cameras with real-time monitoring technology can aid in the prevention of problems such as reducing the travel expenses of company executives and project managers.

Whereas there are uncountable benefits of these cameras such as, instant project status can be obtained, theft monitoring, and no need for quick emails or phone calls to respond to queries regarding project progress, thus site visits can be optimized and shortened.

The standardization of site photographs provides a further important documentation benefit. A standard time interval between each photograph enables users to determine the time scale they are viewing and accurately measure progress, thus reducing the time required for field employees to visit the site and take photographs.

Time-lapse technology can be used for post project-analysis and marketing purposes. The entire project can be documented thanks to unrestricted off-site data storage. Images taken can be viewed chronologically. These images can potentially save millions of dollars, time, and relationships.

Resource Management: 

Using cameras for tracking the workforce, materials, and inventory, and equipment across a site can reveal several important imbalances in a project. Inventory and control of large equipment and bulk materials can be quickly located if they are in the view of the camera. The presence and location of project workforce personnel can effortlessly be identified as well.

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Travel and safety: 

Travel expenses, transport costs, vehicle wear and tear can significantly be reduced using on-site camera technology. The use of cameras can facilitate the scheduling of site visits, as managers can determine when certain stages may be completed or require input and accordingly plan their trips.

Cameras aid in the important issue of safety. Job site hazards can be identified instantly and on duty staff can be notified about the hazard as soon as it happens even at nighttime.

Improper methods can be identified by the cameras and can be stopped. Theft and vandalism can be prevented by using these cameras.

Research Objective and Methodology: 

According to a recent study, the largest barrier to the successful implementation of camera technology is the, “lack of understanding/knowledge of the potential applications of Jobsite images and video.”

Project Background: 

The application gathers project background information based on the physical size of the project, the number of stories/floors and the project budget as previously mentioned, the use of cameras appears to be less beneficial for projects encompassing extremely large areas exceeding 50 acres or extremely small areas of less than one acre.

Many of the projects applied for were commercial, followed by industrial, heavy civil, government, residential, other, healthcare, hotel, mixed-use, and demolition.

A later review of the use of cameras in infrastructure monitoring for heavy civil projects revealed that large vertical structures such as bridges and dams are the primary focus. Thus, the current applications of cameras in heavy civil projects are limited to isolated project locations and not to segments that span multiple miles, such as road construction.

On small to medium-sized construction sites, the project prioritizes the utility of a single camera as significantly higher. Large construction sites may require multiple cameras for a duration of six to twenty-four months.

Impact: 

According to several studies, construction site cameras have a huge impact on companies starting from external communication, Jobsite issues or roadblocks, task completion, and internal company communication.

Travel expenses can be greatly reduced as discussed above and theft and vandalism can be prevented.

Project-Type Breakdowns: 

When considering project-specific factors such as duration, budget, stories/floors, and acreage, it was essential to determine which work tasks are most and least affected by cameras. This data analysis assists camera users in identifying areas where they can anticipate significant returns on investment and those where they may not.

Duration:

These cameras are beneficial to projects of any given duration.

Budget

In smaller project budgets, cameras provided the greatest documentation and communication advantages for deliverables.

Stories/floors: 

Based on the height of the project, cameras have a high rate of return on smaller projects (1–10 floors) and have a significant impact on the scheduling of site visits. Larger projects primarily utilize cameras for external communication and marketing. The impact of cameras on resource management is minimal, particularly in terms of tracking materials and inventory.

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Acreage:

The greatest impact of cameras is on smaller projects. 1–5 acres are primarily utilized for internal communication and scheduling, whereas cameras on projects larger than 5 acres influence external communication. Larger projects are frequently more complex.

Benefits: 

Construction cameras are successfully utilized in most projects like:

Foundations work, grading and earthwork, steelwork, concrete work, site preparation, demolition, roofing, and finishing work, facilities management and landscaping, front-end planning, procurement activities, and interior work.

Some of the others most important benefits include:

Aerial visualization via complex UAV systems, remote construction monitoring, construction photography and documentation, site/ project video production, and 3D scanning for AEC.

Conclusion: 

Consistently, the benefits of construction cameras have been found to outweigh their expected impacts. Certain project types, such as those with a high budget and a large area, were found to have varying benefits for tasks, and it is essential to be aware of the project’s limitations to achieve the full potential of this camera technology. This camera technology is changing the world of construction.